Back to his grassroots: Jacob Marty returns to family land with new vision for agriculture

As a dairy farm kid from southwest Wisconsin, Jacob Marty had no desire to return to his family’s farm. He was set on attending UW-Stevens Point and pursuing a career in conservation. Studying wildlife ecology pointed him in an unexpected direction, however: back to the farm.

I got interested in how we can harmonize food production while also providing habitat for wildlife. That led me down this road.

Jacob Marty

Watch Jacob Marty share why he had a change of heart, all while fending off an overzealous ram!

As a recent graduate in 2015, Jacob told his dad he wanted to come manage the farm, but that he had ideas about a new way of farming, with conservation in mind. Jim Marty only knew the way he had done things as a confinement dairy operator, growing corn and soy. Jacob proposed growing grass.

Now 29, Jacob and his partner Carly run Green Fire Farm, on his family’s land, in Monticello, Wisconsin. He calls it a sixth regeneration farm. They raise grass-fed beef, lamb, pasture-raised pork, chicken, turkeys, and laying hens. They sell their products at Chicago-area farmers markets and online.

In the video above, Jacob shares about farm transitions, what’s in the way of his neighbors transitioning to more sustainable practices, and ideas for how to get more conservation-minded producers on the land.

Jacob observes that the typical 50 to 60 year old farmer in America is concerned about the state of rural communities right now. Young people are moving away rather than towards rural life. In Jacob’s estimation, young people may return again to the land if our agriculture offers them hope for the future.

For more on Jacob Marty, listen in on this GrassCast episode.

Jacob and Carly selling their grass-fed products at a farmers market